It is normal that as you grow, to have an increased sleep requirement, you may need between 8-10 hours per night. Good sleep is vital for your mental, physical, social and educational development.

Poor sleep can affect mood, causing irritability and heightened emotional reactions. Prolonged poor sleep can be a factor in depression and anxiety. Fortunately, there are many practical ways to develop and improve your sleeping routine and habits.

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule, waking up and going to sleep at the same times (or within an hour of normal times even at weekends, allowing for some flexibility).
  • Try to maintain the same sleep routines in the school holidays and when away from home.
Creating a Sleep Friendly Environment
  • Your bedrooms needs to be at a comfortable temperature (16-20°C).
  • Ideally lights off, or at least dimmed. LEDs emit much more blue light than white bulbs and therefore have a greater impact on quality sleep, so ensure these are switched off.
  • There does not need to be silence, but any noise needs to be at a level that it does not disrupt sleep.
  • Avoid screen use (including TV, mobile phones, tablets and computers) an hour before bed and have a no screens in bedroom.
  • Avoid caffeinated or high sugar products, such as fizzy drinks, sweets and tea, particularly during the afternoon and evening.
  • If you are hungry, have a snack. Try to have snacks as early as possible and opt for a snack high in fibre and/or protein (rather than sugar or carbohydrates).
  • Try to get as much natural light as possible in the day, especially in the morning, fresh air and exercise help us sleep better.
  • If you're feeling anxious it may help to write down worries in a diary or to talk about them.
  • Try to keep a regular bedtime routine to get your body into a rythm.
  • Have some wind-down time reading, having a bath, or listening to something relaxing.
Is there a link between screen use and poor sleep?

The scientific evidence base agrees that use of screens before going to bed is detrimental to sleep for people of any age. Using screens sends a signal to your brain that you should still be awake and makes it harder to go to sleep. The use of social media for example, can cause anxiety or an increased state of awareness at a time when you want your child’s brain to be in calm mode.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health recommend that children avoid looking at screens such as phones, tablets or computers in the hour before bed to reduce disruption to their sleep.

Sleep Phase Disorder

Some teenagers may develop a Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder where their bedtime is so delayed (typically the early hours of the morning 1am-4am) and they have difficulty waking up in the morning. This can become an issue where bedtimes are gradually moved later and later particularly in the school holidays. In order to treat this there is a gradual scaling back of sleeping times until they reach the desired time frame.

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